Originally we didn’t plan to go to Bern today, but the weather forecast was for heavy rain, which we felt may have obscured our mountain views, so we thought Bern would be a better option, as many of the sidewalks are under cover. The double-decker train from Basel took about an hour. It was raining as we left the railway station and headed down into the Old Town.
Bern is the Swiss capital. It takes its name from the bears that once roamed the forests nearby, and the bear is a part of the symbol for this canton, and is clearly visible on Bern’s flag. For hundreds of years bears were kept in a small bearpit just across the bridge over the Aare River and people used to come and stare at them. Some years back the bears were moved into a much larger enclosure, and they still are a popular tourist attraction. There is no fee to be paid. You can just walk up to the railing and look down on them.
Bern is home to many beautifully painted 500-year-old sculptures adorning public fountains. They vary from Moses and the Ten Commandments to a man eating a baby. It was also once home to Albert Einstein and it still is home to one of the best street names I have ever seen. And, as Marg discovered, it is home to a really nice little wool shop … so naturally we had to stop there for a while.
We crossed the bridge over the river and walked up a steep hill to a rose garden overlooking the Old Town and the river. It provided some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen since arriving in Prague five weeks ago. So we decided to stay awhile and eat lunch up there with that amazing view in the background.
In mid-afternoon we caught another train bound for Thun, just a short distance down the track.